11-24-2009, 03:29 PM
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As previously mentioned by others, we need to know the water parameters (pH and hardness) and intended fish. Cichlids can mean rift lake cichlids, or dwarf cichlids from South America; two very, very different habitats with different water parameters and thus plants.
To answer your CO2 question, that is carbon dioxide. Plants take in CO2 and give off oxygen when they photosynthesize (grow). CO2 comes from the fish and other biological processes ongoing in an aquarium. This CO2 can be sufficient to have healthy plants, or you can use a CO2 diffuser to add CO2. Both Angel and I do not regard this as necessary, and the photos of both our tanks will support that it is not needed.
As for fertilization, aquatic plants require 17 different nutrients; CO2 is one of these, as is nitrogen which they assimilate from ammonia/ammonium. The remaining are macro- and micro-nutrients (trace minerals and such) that may be present from tap water and fish food, but not usually sufficient to feed the plants. But until we know the fish and water, it is not worth getting into fertilizers as this depends upon the plants and the setup.
If you don't have a test kit for pH and hardness, or don't know these numbers for your tap water, your local fish store will probably test the tap water, or tell you what it is for your area if it is municipal water.
EDIT: Saw your other thread where you post pH and hardness, so that is answered. You have moderately soft and slightly acidic water, lovely. So, I will make an assumption that you are not thinking of African rift lake cichlids, but rather dwarf cichlids and tetras, rasbora, or similar. When you confirm, one of us can go further with fertilizers and plant possibilities.
Last edited by Byron; 11-24-2009 at 03:35 PM..